Can meditation really make the world a better place? | Aeon Essays

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It’s hailed as the panacea for everything from cancer to war. Does research into its efficacy meet scientific standards?

Source: Can meditation really make the world a better place? | Aeon Essays

Opinion – These kinds of studies are so riddled with issues that I hesitated posting the above link. One could pretty well go step by step through the researchers’ process and offer critiques at each stage.

The result?

Take this with a grain of salt. If it shows anything, it tells us how superficial the social sciences can be. Not totally worthless, but again, to be taken cum grano salis.



  1. I think meditation should also be expanded beyond sitting cross-legged and trying to be mindful. For me, I can never accomplish much trying that sort of meditation, it’s not compatible with my mental style. However, I find deep meditative states emerge when I go on distance runs on nature trails. The result for me is the same for my friends who do traditional meditation methods: an enlightened sense of inspired clarity.


  2. When I was in India doing my M.A. one of my profs. introduced me to the idea of karma-yoga. It’s not the same as hatha-yoga, which is the postures. For Hindus, karma-yoga is about doing ones “divine duty” while going about one’s daily affairs. We can question just what “divine duty” is, and whether or not it’s divorced from cultural and political influences. But as a philosophical idea, I find it compelling. In the West we might just say “do the right thing.” And that includes a kind of constant awareness even in the midst of a busy day. So that’s my goal, within a Christian context.


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